George McCalman

06/28/16

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I am so thrilled to share with you my most recent recorded interview — this one with my friend George McCalman, one of the most prolific and inspiring artists living today. After fourteen years as an art director in the magazine industry, working for publications like ReadyMade, Mother Jones, and Entertainment Weekly, George opened his freelance design studio in 2011. Now, in addition to design, George is also channeling his creative juju and enormous talent into hand drawn and painted illustration and type. He uses this enormous talent not only to work for clients, but also to document his life and passions through personal projects. We sat down and talked about his roots, what inspires him, the recent changes in his path and what he’s learned about what makes him tick creatively over the years. George is a fantastic conversationalist, and I know you will be inspired by his attitude and story. Just click play on the MP3 player below and enjoy photos of George’s work below (much of which we refer to in the interview). A great place to follow George is on Instagram, where he openly shares his creative process and work. I present to you the latest in my Interviews with people I Admire series, George McCalman!

 

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A GREATNESS OF SPIRIT POSTER

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Samantha Hahn

05/31/16

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Friends, I am so excited to launch the next phase of Interviews with People I Admire: recorded interviews! I’m not calling this a podcast (you won’t find links to the interviews anywhere but on my blog for now). But it’s a format I’m testing out for the time being. I think recorded interviews will give you a richer perspective into the creative process of the folks I feature here!

Today I am so happy to share an interview with my good friend, Illustrator Samantha Hahn. Samantha is an illustrator from Brooklyn, New York, best known for her beautiful ethereal watercolor portraits of the female figure. Not surprisingly, many of her clients include iconic fashion industry labels and magazines like Marc Jacobs, J Crew, Glamour, Elle, Marie Claire — the list goes on and on. She is also the author of two gorgeous books, Well Read Women and A Mother is a Story. Below I have shared photos of her latest book and some of her work so you can get a flavor for her style.

In the interview Samantha and I talk about her work and inspiration, but most interestingly, about “the other side of success” — what happens when you work hard to pursue a career in illustration and then, as you’d always dreamed of, you become a busy illustrator. We discuss what we thought that would look like for us and what the realities have ended up being.

Just click on the play button below to begin listening! The interview is about 53 minutes long.

Samantha’s latest gorgeous new book: A Mother is a Story (and the companion journal).

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Samantha’s first book, Well Read Women: Portraits of Fiction’s Most Beloved Heriones

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Images from the interior of A Mother is a Story:

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Tara Rodden Robinson // On Productivity

04/29/16

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Last year I received an email from a woman named Tara. She’d just written a book about productivity for women, and she was contacting me to inquire if I’d read her manuscript and write a blurb for the back of the book. Normally, unless I know the person or are familiar already with their work, I turn down such inquiries. I get them a lot, and mostly I just don’t have the time. But something intrigued me about Tara’s request, so I took a quick peek at her manuscript. I knew after reading the first few paragraphs, that I needed to explore this book further.

I’m a person who literally battles with productivity — and not because I’m unproductive. I battle because my notions about what it means to be productive are far beyond what I can typically accomplish in a day. So I end most days feeling overwhelmed, inept and without a sense of closure. Then, I get up the next day, and I do it all over again. I often put off the stuff I long to do for “when I have time.” I’m often so singularly focused on making my way through my to-do list that I even experience periods when even my work (which is making art, should be fun, right?) feels like wading through thick, waist-deep mud. Time feels scarce and spending time doing what I look forward to most becomes something I’ll do “when I have time” (aka: never anytime soon!).

So when I began reading Tara’s manuscript, my first reaction was: “She’s talking about me! She’s talking to me!” Tara — a former Getting Things Done guru — writes about her own difficult but enlightening journey from stressed out workaholic toward becoming a woman who has a healthy relationship with time. The work she did to redefine the notion of time and productivity for herself combined with evidence based research on time and productivity are the foundations for the book. She lays out a number of basic principles and actionable exercises that are intended help other women think and act in new ways to lead lives filled with more equanimity and joy.

I took the manuscript with me to a residency last August and decided then and there as I read it that I had to forge a new path in my own relationship to my “crazy busy schedule.” Getting myself “unburied” is something I’ve been working on for years (and have even written about on this blog). I’ve found Tara’s work extremely helpful in that quest. I still have a long way to go, but the small changes I’ve made already (some in my actions, some simply in how I view time), have been life altering.

The blurb I ended up writing for Tara? You can see it here:

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I sat down with Tara last week and asked her about time and productivity and the ideas in her new book. If you struggle with your relationship with time (and productivity) I hope you will read this interview and take a look at Tara’s new book, Sexy + Soul-full.

I present to you my latest in my Interviews with People I Admire series: an interview with Tara Rodden Robinson.

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Lisa: Hello, and thank you for sharing with us today! What makes your guide to productivity different than anything else that’s out there?

Tara: Sexy + Soul-full is a fully feminine, heart-felt approach to productivity. Nowhere will you find anyone else who speaks about topics like shame and wonder, infertility and career change, menopause and self care in a book on productivity! I intentionally shared my own story because I want my readers to see the authentic struggles that all women, including myself, go through. Ultimately, I want women to feel empowered to claim their loves—their dreams, aspirations, joys, and relationships—and to possess the skills and know-how to make time for those loves, unapologetically and joyfully.

Another thing that sets Sexy + Soul-full apart is it’s a quirky mix of right-brained creativity with a tasty helping of left-brained research geekery. Which, come to think of it, is a pretty good description of who I am as a person. My often counter-intuitive productivity advice is drawn from actual scientific studies. That means the reader gets fresh, evidence-based approaches to solving the time crunch problem rather than just another tired rehash of tips and tricks that provide only temporary relief.

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{Tara with the piece of art she made that become the cover of her book // photo by Godofredo Vasquez for the Corvallis Gazette-Times.}

 Lisa: Who is this book for?

Tara: It’s is for any woman who wants to make time for what she loves and the relationships that mean the most to her. My readers include everyone from working moms, women going back to school, mid-career executives, creative entrepreneurs, artists, and retirees who are looking for the next big adventure for the second half of their lives.

Lisa: Do women struggle more than men in their relationship with time? If so, why?

Tara: I’m not sure that women struggle more than men in their relationship with time but there’s good evidence that most women carry substantially greater workloads than men do. Among heterosexual couples, on average, the woman works twice as many hours at home doing chores and childcare than the man does. Even among couples where both help, women still carry a greater burden of the workload than men do.

I’m not a social scientist so I can’t really speak to what the roots of this lingering inequality are, but the demands on women’s time are quite different. My hypothesis is that some of this arises from differences in what men and women prioritize. Men tend to prioritize work, competition, and status seeking while women generally place a higher value on relationships, collaboration, and care taking.

Certainly, women have expectations of themselves that men don’t. We are often socialized to be pleasing to others, making it harder for us to set boundaries on our time and to say ‘no.’ Many women struggle with perfectionism and identify themselves with their accomplishments. Drawing self-worth from achievement has obvious implications for how we spend our time.

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Lisa: Most of us can relate to this idea that we’ll get to the stuff we really want to do later – when we have “more time.” You believe that this idea of scarcity around time is actually false – that, in fact, it’s a myth! Tell us why that’s true & how changing our relationship to time can allow us to live with more equanimity.

Tara: Yes, the notion “I will have more time later” is the first of the three destructive myths about time that I identify in the book. This is one of most common beliefs about time that, deep down, everyone knows isn’t true! It’s easy to fall into this trap because “now” is clearly so full of demands but if you look at your calendar far enough in the future, your schedule probably looks pretty open. When those dates roll around, though, you’re just a busy then as you were in the past.

The bigger lie is that of scarcity. I learned to reject scarcity by reading Lynne Twist’s incredible book, The Soul of Money. Twist points out that our entire society is in the grip of this notion that there’s not enough to go around. But when we start to examine the underlying assumptions of that belief, it just doesn’t hold water. I won’t go into all of Twist’s arguments here, but suffice it to say, her book rocked my world.

As a result, I came to realize that the entire field of personal productivity is rooted in this lie of scarcity. The presupposition is that time is scarce, there is not enough of you to go around, and you must scratch and claw to get enough of the finite resource of time. But the truth is: Time is an infinitely renewable and inexhaustibly abundant resource. Not only that, but our brains actually create our experiences of time! Armed with that knowledge, I came to realize it’s possible to have a sustainable, unrushed lifestyle that includes a much more spacious relationship with time.

Lisa: You know I’m a big goal setter. Explain the difference between traditional goal-setting and making what you call a “heart-centered plan” for your life?

Tara: As I say in the book, I have a bit of a love-hate relationship with goal-setting. Part of my problem with the way goals are usually set out is that the result is so binary: you failed or you succeeded. Life, on the other hand, is this heady mix of lessons, joys, disappointments, progress, and luck. What I know for sure is we can control our efforts but we can’t control our outcomes. So instead of getting fixated on desired results, I suggest focusing attention on making sincere and devoted effort and receiving results—all of them—with gratitude. I wanted to present an alternative way of making plans that acknowledged how richly textured life actually is.

Lisa: Most of us would say that love is our highest priority, but our choices and actions do not bear that out. What does it really mean to live with love as your highest priority? What do we have to give up to get there? What do we gain?

Tara: I think we often over-prioritize things that, in the long run, don’t really matter. When I was a university professor, I would watch colleagues falling all over themselves to reach for the next accomplishment when they hadn’t even celebrated the last one. I was like that, too—I put career achievement ahead of everything: having kids, caring for my health, investing in relationships. I finally realized that my achievements weren’t going to provide any comfort to me when I was at the end of my life. My relationships, on the other hand, clearly have lasting significance and meaning. So part of the answer about living with love as the highest priority is about investing ourselves in our relationships with family and friends.

The other piece of piece of the puzzle is actually doing what we say we care about doing. Years ago, I interviewed novelist Susan Straight and something she told me has always stuck with me. She writes all her novels on little scraps of paper in teensy found moments throughout the day. She’s written nine books! She cares about being a novelist and she walks her talk by prioritizing writing. Most people have space in their days like this to invest themselves in something they find meaningful. Even if it’s a small action, those small actions accumulate.

In terms of what we have to give up, it’s a bit paradoxical but sometimes it’s about letting go of our own priorities. I know it sounds weird but my own experience bears this out. When I’m too hooked into having my own way and holding onto my time as precious, I become impatient and selfish. One of the counter-intuitive bits of advice I give in the book is to learn how to welcome interruptions with gratitude. There’s research behind this approach but my insights on it originally came from being a caregiver for my elderly mom. I found that when I welcome unexpected events (even the really hard ones) with gratitude, my heart stays open and I experience equanimity. I’m more resilient and more generous. Someday, when my mom is no longer living, I know being like this will mean even more to me than it does now.

Ultimately, I think we gain a life well-lived. One of my friends paid me a huge compliment a while back. She said that I was someone who was fully present for my life, not just going through the motions, but really engaged and really alive. There are no guarantees, obviously, but I’d rather bet on love and put my best effort toward love as my highest priority.

Lisa: Thank you so much for sharing your book with the world, Tara! You can find Tara’s book here or wherever books are sold.

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Grace Bonney of Design*Sponge

01/13/16

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{Grace Bonney with her wife Julia Turshen and their dog Hope!}

I first met Grace Bonney ten years ago in 2006. We were both starting out in our respective paths — Grace had begun writing a design blog called Design*Sponge, and I’d just begun making a go at being a professional artist. The worlds of blogging and art on the internet were really small back then — and so, of course, our paths inevitably crossed. And, over the past ten years, we’ve become friends and during many big life events, confidants. I have always admired Grace for her approach to blogging and to living her life. She is refreshingly brave, straightforward and honest and, in a world of fluff, she has continued to produce rich, meaningful content for over 10 years. Knowing Grace in person, I am pretty sure this comes from a sense of responsibility for the integrity of what she puts into the world. This has never been more apparent than in the past several years. In that time, Grace came out publicly as a lesbian. Instead of doing business as usual, she has used her new lens on the world to reshape how she approaches her content to reflect the rich diversity of the design community. I talked to Grace recently about this shift, about ten years of blogging, and about her openness. I am so honored to present to you my latest (and my first for 2016) interview in my Interviews with People I Admire Series: Grace Bonney!

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{Grace reflects on 100 podcast episodes}

Lisa: Grace, you are one of a handful of women who I think of as the “mothers of design blogging”. You’ve been at this for 10 years and have stayed with it through the changing landscape. Talk briefly about that changing landscape. What was blogging like then and what is blogging like now? What are some of the things that have changed? What challenges do you face now that you didn’t face in 2005?

Grace: I think it’s probably easier to talk about what hasn’t changed. Over the past 11 years of blogging, everything has shifted, from what readers expect to how often we need to post to the entire financial structure supporting online publishing. For me, the biggest struggle is related to how to maintain some sort of a separation between church and state, meaning the integrity of editorial content and the world of ‘native’ advertising (sponsored posts, etc.). The bottom line is that I will always go to battle to protect our editorial voice and preserve its authenticity and openness. But I also want to pay everyone who works for us a living wage. It’s a daily battle, but one I’m thankful for. I realize things could be much, much worse.

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{Grace’s Biz Ladies series is one of the longest running business series for women on the internet}

Lisa: Amidst some of the changes on the most recent years, I know you were feeling a great deal of angst and frustration – you even questioned whether to stay in it. But, thankfully for all of us, you did! And you made some really conscious choices about what you were going to change about your blog, including making a concerted effort for your content and contributors to reflect the rich diversity of the art & design community, something that has been severely lacking in the design blogosphere since its inception. Tell us more about that effort and how it’s changed your blog (and I think the world) for the better.

Grace: I could talk about this all day every day. Coming out (privately in 2011 and publicly in 2013) dramatically affected the way I saw the world and how I experienced almost all information (both news and entertainment) I consumed. I felt much more comfortable, welcomed and included when I saw more out queer people in the design/fashion/lifestyle world and it made me realize what a poor job I was doing of representing all of our community on Design*Sponge. I had a million excuses in my head but not a single one was valid. The bottom line was that I needed to better serve our community and make sure everyone reading felt welcomed, represented and at home. So ever since that moment we’ve worked harder to make sure our content celebrates everyone in our community. Visual representation is a huge part of it, but it’s also about giving people a platform to tell their own stories in their voices. That effort lead to my new book, In The Company of Women, which is coming out this fall. I wanted to see a business/inspiration book that looked like all of the women I knew and admired- not just the ones that fit a certain stereotype perpetuated by the media. I’m so proud of this book and hope that everyone reading will see themselves reflected in one, if not all, of the women in its pages.

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Lisa: Hearing you say this gives me chills! And every time I look at the front page of your blog, I feel it too. So thank you! Next, tell us about your latest book. This book is a labor of love for you, and it’s not entirely design-focused. It’s about actual human beings – a diverse set of women who are exceptionally smart and talented and who have created thriving businesses — in the arts, writing, photography, food, design, acting, and on and on. Why was this the book you wanted to make? And what’s it been like to make it so far? What are your hopes for the book’s impact?

Grace: I was actually under contract to create a massive DIY encyclopedia but my heart wasn’t in it. I kept talking to my wife, Julia about what I actually wanted to do and she said, “Why don’t you ask if you can change it?” I was about to give my advance back when Julia offered to help with a revised book proposal. I turned it in, hoped for the best, and thankfully my publisher, Lia Ronnen, believed in the idea and let me switch topics at the last minute. So I spent my summer traveling across the country with (photographer) Sasha Israel and our project manager, Kelli Kehler, photographing these amazing women and interviewing them in person. I hope the book is something people can return to over and over throughout their lives and their careers when they need inspiration, motivation and ideas that will help them find the courage to do what they love- on their own terms. These women are incredible, but still relatable, examples of what women can do when they’re in charge of their work and their career trajectories. This is, without a doubt, my favorite project I’ve ever had the honor of working on at DS.

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{Some of the amazing women being featured in Grace’s next book}

Lisa: I am always very moved by your courage to write about things in your personal life – like coming out a few years ago, navigating the world of haters, your fears about becoming more at ease in your life and how that might affect your business. Why is it important to write about the stuff that’s personal or scary from time to time – not just for you personally, but for your community of readers?

Grace: I think it’s important for me because I enjoy connecting to people online. I’ve never been someone who had a ton of close friends growing up and connecting- and trusting- other people has always been a challenge for me. Being open and honest online is one way (but I’m sure there are others) that lets me find people who share the same interests, values and ideas. We may not always agree, but the friendships I’ve made online (through being myself and staying open and honest) have been the strongest of my life so far. I don’t think it’s by any means required that all bloggers share personal things, but I think it’s a powerful way to make these connections if that’s what drives and interests you. I think there a million places (thankfully) to find great design advice, cool new shops and interviews, but those personal stories and moments are the truly unique things we have to offer, if that’s what we feel comfortable with.

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{Design Sponge Life & Business column is one of my favorites}

Lisa: I am always interested in how busy, productive women in leadership roles stay grounded in the midst of deadlines and managing both people and content. I know you’ve been working really hard to have more (for lack of a better word) “balance” in your life. How do you balance your life between relaxation/human connection and the crazy amount work that you manage every day to write a popular blog and a giant book. What wisdom do you have for my readers about what’s working for you? What have you had to give up? What have you gained?

Grace: I think it’s a constant struggle, period. There is no perfect place where you have it all figured out and where everything works. There are moments when things feel like clockwork and it all comes together in a smooth, seemingly (but not actually) effortess moment, but there will always be the moments when things smash together in one giant explosion and you have to rebuild and re-learn things. I’ve learned to expect those ups and downs and see them as a way, and an invitation, to learn something new, try a new method of getting something done and to discover a new part of myself I didn’t know existed before. Working on the internet will always keep you on your toes. But I’m really thankful for that- I love having to think on my feet and be open to change. I don’t want to miss out on anything life has to offer, and in my experience, some of the best moments exist in those shaky, wobbly fresh starts.

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{Another thing I love: DIY has always been a part of Design*Sponge}

Lisa: What can we look forward to on Design*Sponge in 2016?

Grace: So much! I feel like this year feels scary and new in all the best ways. I’m launching a print project, our new book and book tour and lots of new online content and new voices being added to the site. I’m ready for 2016 and I can’t wait to start working.

Lisa: Thank you, Grace, for inspiring me for the past 11 years! I can’t wait to see everything you do over the next 11.

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Jude Stewart: Patternalia

12/14/15

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As most of you know, I love a good pattern — I love drawing them, I love designing them, I love decorating with them, I love pinning them. So I was really excited when my friend Tina introduced me to her friend, design writer & creative powerhouse Jude Stewart, who has recently written a fantastic history of patterns. It’s called Patternalia: An Unconventional History of Polka Dots, Stripes, Plaid, Camouflage, & Other Graphic Patterns. This book is for the pattern geek in all of us. Have you ever wondered where stripes, plaids and polka dots came from? Do you squeal with nostalgia when you see a certain fabric or wallpaper pattern from your childhood? Do you wonder about the different kinds of patterns or some of the unwritten rules of pattern making? If so, I guarantee you will love this book.

Last week I had the privilege of interviewing Jude about Patternalia — why she made it and what it was like researching it. We also chatted about our own personal relationships to pattern (since we both love the topic). Today in my Interviews with People I Admire series: Jude Stewart!

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Lisa: Jude, first before we dive into the book, tell us about you. Who are you and how do you spend your days?

Jude: Professionally, I’m a writer who wears two hats. I run my own creative agency, Stewart + Company, specializing in content strategy and development for corporate clients. I’m also a journalist writing about graphic design and visual culture.

But professionally is less than half the story, right? On the personal side, I live in Chicago with the two most excellent dudes I know, my husband and 2-year-old son. I’ve lived a bunch of times in Berlin and plan on doing so again this summer. Right now I’m reading Agatha Christie novels like they’re going out of style…

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Lisa: You previously wrote a beautiful book about color called ROY G BIV. Tell us first a little bit about that book.

Jude: First off, thanks for the compliment! To explain the title, ROY G. BIV is a mnemonic for the order of the colors of the rainbow, and the book itself includes a few more shades than the “classic” rainbow, like pink, gray and black.

I like to describe ROY as a “Color-Choose-Your-Adventure”. You can read your way through the rainbow – each chapter is devoted to a single color – or you can hop around following the thematic cross-references that dot the book’s pages. If you’re curious to read all the ways color intersects with bugs or hallucination, ROY can scratch that itch for you. Patternalia follows a similar format. For both color and pattern, I found this a great way to provide a satisfying old-fashioned read while giving reader scope to explore their own interests in a potentially infinite topic.

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Lisa: Why a book about patterns? Why was this the next book you had to make?

Jude: A good chunk of ROY G. BIV deals with the history of material color – how natural dyes and artist’s pigments were produced prior to the invention of synthetic dyes. That topic bumps into textile history over and over, some of which overlapped with weaving techniques and patterns.

But I really got a running start on Patternalia when I wrote a short “patterns are back” trend article for Print in 2009. I thought it’d be fun to find several ways each classic pattern had been used over the centuries, with an eye towards discerning the source of each pattern’s personality. Well, I found a lot of fascinating material but also no one book that answered my questions exactly – which was maddening. If you’re a particular kind of curious, dogged writer, your next book really chooses you that way.

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Lisa: I’m floored at the amount of information in the book! Tell us the process of researching the book. Where do you go to find all of the interesting pattern facts & history? How long did the research take you?

Jude: Ha, forever! Seriously, the research was a bit nutso. I gathered material for about six years total, gaining confidence as I progressed that this odd book could indeed be successfully written. I amassed all kinds of books that weren’t really intended for me: military histories, symbolism dictionaries, mathematics textbooks, textile histories galore… I also relied a lot on charming librarians and hitting up my husband (who’s a music historian) and our many academic buddies.

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Lisa: What is the most (or one or two of the most) fascinating fact(s) you learned while you were writing the book?

Jude: Well, all those military histories of camouflage were totally worth the slog. The story of camouflage is infinitely weirder and more fascinating than I’d imagined. Camouflage rose to prominence in WWI to protect military equipment from aerial reconnaissance – but then it expanded like crazy during WWII to encompass all kinds of of visual sleight-of-hand. It’s a story of inflatable tanks; decoy heads, tanks and cities; magicians sporting colonel stripes; jazzy warships – it goes on and (weirdly) on.

I was also pretty amazed at plaid’s history – more properly called “tartan”. (“Plaid” derives from a Gaelic term for a certain kind of woolen blanket, however it’s patterned. “Tartan” refers to the actual family of patterns.) Nearly everything you think you “know” about tartan is imaginary. Tartan was banned in the UK from 1746 to 1782 – which fueled the pattern’s rise in popularity. But nostalgia for the pattern also made its history fuzzy and rife with frauds. Several confidence men faked finding ancient tartan guides, and most of the “family tartans” we know today are invented, with little basis in fact.

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Lisa: When I was a kid, my dad, who is a mathematician and scientist, introduced me to fractals. I became obsessed with them, looking everywhere in nature for them. In some ways I think that introduction was the beginning of my interest in pattern that eventually led to a career as an artist and pattern designer. What was your first fascination with pattern or something pattern related?

Jude: Nice! Can I borrow that anecdote? 😉 But seriously: I recall a few patterns from my childhood intensely. A tiny bathroom of my grandma’s house in Louisville, Kentucky, was tiled in black-and-white hexagons that, to my eye, looked like interlocking pandas. Her living room was wallpapered Churchill Downs wallpaper. (Louisville is home to the Kentucky Derby, so horse-love is no joke there. (It only occurred to me later that there were three framed pictures of Secretariat, a Triple Crown winner from the 1970s, and maybe two pictures of grandkids.)

I used to love staring at patterns like these, sizing them up, then sizing them down in your mind’s eye, reverse-engineering how it was made, and – later on – the pleasant difficulty of parsing really complex patterns like Islamic tiling.

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Lisa: Once several years ago, I designed my first repeat pattern that was made entirely of interconnected lines. I used to have an illustration agent, and I remember when I showed this pattern to her she paid me the highest compliment: “I can’t tell where it begins and where it ends!” In other words, she couldn’t tell where the “repeat” began or ended. Making that particular pattern was one of the most satisfying things I’d ever done. You’re a writer & journalist, not a pattern designer. Did you have the opportunity in your research to watch a pattern designer at work on the computer or drawing table? Or have you ever attempted to make a repeatable pattern yourself? If so, what was that like for you?

Jude: I would L-O-V-E such an opportunity but haven’t yet had it. I have, however, interviewed many pattern designers about their process and gotten glimpses into how they work. (See my article Sensing a Pattern for Communications Arts.)

I also admire Islamic patterns for the very qualities you describe. That centerlessness is intended as an homage to Allah, who’s everywhere all at once. They also conceived of mathematics, design and spirituality as intertwined, a beautiful way to commune with a higher plane of existence. As I wrote in Patternalia’s introduction, pattern’s whiff of infinity is exciting to me.

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Lisa: What is your favorite pattern motif and why?

Jude: I really like black-and-white checkerboard. It’s clean, fresh, dynamic – it crackles with a certain electricity. It also conveys a surprising range of meanings across cultures. B&W checks can suggest speed (in racing flags), law and order (“Sillitoe tartan” appears on police uniforms in British Commonwealth countries, and here in Chicago), and spiritual protection (in Bali, you can drape B&W-checked fabric called wastra poleng over something you want to shield).

Lisa: Where can people find you on the Internets?

Jude: I’m at www.judestewart.com, but also tweeting up a storm @joodstew.

Lisa: Thank you Jude! I hope all the pattern geeks purchase Patternalia! It’s amazing

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